How well are you tracking your social media?

While distributing information to your customers and potential customers through social media is important, it’s also important to know how the people that you are reaching are reacting to what you have to say. Are they paying attention to your posts or tweets and passing them along to others or do the posts just disappear?

Know why you regularly posting on social media: to become more engaged with your customers, to gain more publicity for your brand, to attract more customers, to sell product or to present your customers with reasons to buy from you. Keep a list of goals handy, to keep you on track.

To discover whether or not you are successful, track your social media posts to see where they go after they reach your audience. This can be accomplished through tracking keywords that relate to your company or products.

Track your brand or company name. Know who is talking about your company or products and why. Whether it is a complaint or a compliment, a response to the person who responded to the post will positively affect how they feel about you. It is easier than you think to turn around a complaint by paying attention and doing everything you can to sort out the problem either on- or offline. Tracking your brand or company may also give you more information about questions that customers are asking each other, or whether there is talk about your products.

It doesn’t hurt to track your main competitors also. It helps to know what they are doing and how they are being perceived on social media.

Track key employees through their own sites and through what people are saying about them. In the wine industry, you know how important the winemaker, the owners and even the people in the tasting room are to many of your best customers. They feel connected to these people and will be loyal to the brand because of them.

Track industry keywords to see if your brand, company or products are being mentioned in the broader industry by consumers who may be looking for the type of product you produce.

Social media may not cost a lot when compared to print or electronic advertising but if you are going to be successful it does take time to do it right.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Create Invaluable Customer Records

At the start of a new year, it’s good to think about things that you want to accomplish for the coming year. A worthwhile task before the busy sales season is to ensure that your customer records are accurate and up to date.

In addition to the basics, the name of the customer and their contact history (including address, email address and phone numbers – business and mobile) make sure that the customer’s transaction history is accurate and up to date. It’s important that you know what, when, why and in what quantities your customers purchased your products, whether they buy for others as well as for themselves. Having this kind of information will allow you to segment your audiences and structure your advertising and offers in more individual ways. Knowing how much customers have purchased gives you an easy way to assess their value to your business.

Also is important to create a personal profile for each of your regular customers. This information could include age, gender, profession, spouse’s name, income, hobbies, children’s names and even the charities they support. Don’t forget to ask if they have pets and the names of those pets. People are very attached to their animals.

Keep track of any individual correspondence you have with your customers as this can give you insight regarding their views and opinions.

Customer information is built up over time as you informally learn about your customers.

When customers are in your place of business, casually ask them questions about themselves (most Americans quite like that) and offer a little information about yourself to balance the conversation. If you are asking for information via email or a questionnaire couch the request in a way that will appeal to the customer. For example “In order to provide you with service and offers more suited to your personal needs, please complete this short questionnaire.” And please, if you do use questionnaire, do keep them short.

Most businesses these days use CRM systems. The most important word of the three in Customer Relationship Marketing is Relationship. Establishing real relationships with your customers will create strong and long-lasting relationships with your customers.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Uptick in Customer Expectations

I was catching up with my marketing reading this week and came across an article on Marketingprofs.com by Joe Gagnon, a senior vice president for Aspect Software. The article delved into what customers want in the way of customer service and what their expectations are.

The article started out by quoting some statistics: “Some 55% of consumers say that their customer service expectations have increased over the past three years.”“Additionally 55% of consumers say they have moved from at least one company in the past year due to poor customer service.”

As consumers now have technology literally at their fingertips, “consumers arguably know more about the products and services than a company’s customer service representatives know about them.”

So what do customers want? According to Mr. Gagnon, there are seven things that customers want. Shown below are the first three thoughts:

#1 They want to be known. Customers who have dealt with you in the past expect you to know about these past transactions and what occurred.

#2 A mobile experience. Customers want to be able to access products and services on all types of mobile devices. Importantly, as Mr. Gagnon says, “… the vast majority (70%) of consumers would rather text than talk.”

How many of you text your customers when you have information or specials to pass along? It’s definitely something you should think about. Start collecting cell phone numbers so you may text the customers who prefer to communicate this way.

#3 Self-service. According to IBM Retail Research 72%of customers prefer self-service over picking up the phone and 91% would rather use self-service if it was available. How simple is it to buy through your website? Do you have one-click purchasing (ala Amazon)? If you don’t it’s something you should think about.

As we come into the winter and (in theory) things start to slow down a little it’s a good time to start updating the way we use technology and shift to become more in step with the way consumers want to find information and want to purchase.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Take A POSitive Approach To Finding A POS System

When I am out and about at conferences or working with wineries, I am often asked to recommend POS (Point-of-Sale) systems. That is such a hard question to answer, as the right POS varies for each business.

There are many POS systems available and all of them can do the job, the question is what exactly do you want your POS system to do and how do you want it to function? Though I can’t pick out your system, here are a few tips for you:

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

Assess your needs. Consider your present and future needs. What will you need five years from now, and can you add on to the system you choose to meet those needs? Find a company whose products can grow as you grow.

Make a list of the services and features that are important to you. Ask employees who will work with the system what they think is important in a system. You might want to ask your customers to. For example, I find it very handy that I am now able to have my receipts emailed directly to me instead of getting a printed receipt. It’s a lot easier at tax time, as they are all in a file on my computer and I have not got lots of little pieces of paper floating around.

WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?

Put together a budget that factors in everything, the retail software, accounting software, point of sale, terminals, etc. Also factor in the cost (if it’s additional) of training and problem solving, as well as repairs. Once you have your budget, look for the systems that match it.

ARRANGE FOR A DEMO

Get the companies you are interested in to give you a demonstration of the product. It’s a big investment, you need to know the ins and outs, and the company needs to know as much as they can about your business.

CHECK REFERENCES

As well as getting referrals for customers to speak with, from the company, find other businesses like yours that use a system you are considering, and ask what they think.  You want to know that the system is functional, practical and easy to use.

Happy shopping!

A tip of the glass from me to you!